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Yale Law School

Faculty Scholarship Series

2005

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

The Origins Of "Reasonable Doubt", James Q. Whitman Mar 2005

The Origins Of "Reasonable Doubt", James Q. Whitman

Faculty Scholarship Series

The "reasonable doubt" rule is notoriously difficult to define, and many judges and scholars have deplored the confusion it creates in the minds of jurors. Yet "reasonable doubt" is regarded as a fundamental part of our law. How can a rule of such fundamental importance be so difficult to define and understand?

The answer, this paper tries to show, lies in history. The "reasonable doubt" rule was not originally designed to serve the purpose it is asked to serve today: It was not originally designed to protect the accused. Instead, it was designed to protect the souls of the jurors ...


The Limits Of History, James Q. Whitman Jan 2005

The Limits Of History, James Q. Whitman

Faculty Scholarship Series

Constantin Fasolt's odd hodgepodge of a book is largely about the philosophy of history, as its title suggests. It would be hard to recommend it as a work of philosophy, though: While Fasolt's reflections on "the limits of history" certainly have their moments of elegance and insight, the philosophy here is mostly careless and cursory stuff, with far too heavy a dose of post-modem pyrrhonism for this reviewer. But it would be too bad if readers allowed the book's portentous title, and the anguished philosophical gyrations of its first chapter, to prevent them from reading on. Fasolt ...